Tag: Water cycle

Global warming: More evidence that geo-engineering is likely to have unintended consequences

Trying to reflect sunlight artificially could backfire

The best path to slowing global warming is to reduce greehouse gas emissions.

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By Summit Voice

FRISCO — When it comes to global warming nothing is simple — and that includes proposals to mitigate the effects of heat-trapping greenhouse gases with planetary scale geo-engineering schemes. One of the ideas that’s been floated is to seed the atmosphere with material in order to reflect some of the sun’s incoming heat.

But a recent study by German researchers suggests that it probably won’t work — and could have unexpected consequences for the global water cycle. In their model, based on an energy balance analysis, the researchers showed that the water cycle responds differently to heating by sunlight than it does to warming due to a stronger atmospheric greenhouse effect. Upsetting that balance could shift the Earth’s rainfall patterns, the researchers said. Continue reading “Global warming: More evidence that geo-engineering is likely to have unintended consequences”


Morning photo: Clouds

Not just water vapor …

Clouds over Dillon Reservoir and the Tenmile Range.

SUMMIT COUNTY — When #FriFotos founder @EpsteinTravels announced the theme for this week’s popular Twitter chat I nearly fell out of my chair. Sometimes it feels like I spend half my life chasing clouds and light to get good photos. Clouds are the life-giving substance of the atmosphere, bringing snow and rain that nourishes the Earth and keeps our rivers flowing, our lakes filled and, ultimately, replenishes the oceans. A sad word of caution: Scientists tell us that the planet’s water cycle is speeding up and intensifying because of global warming. Those beautiful clouds will fill up with more water, leading to increased flooding in some places and more drought in other areas. But for now, enjoy these cloud scenes from around the world.

Morning photo: Terrible beauty

There’s a lot at stake …

Biologists have been trying to figure out why bee colonies are in decline, and the latest research is pointing directly to pesticides as the main cause. Click the pic to learn more.

SUMMIT COUNTY — I often use striking and beautiful images to illustrate environmental stories in the hope that the photo will catch readers eyes and get them to read the article, even if the news is not so good. So I’ve compiled a few of these photos in today’s photo essay, with each image linking back to the story referenced in the caption. Please share these photos and stories with your friends. Continue reading “Morning photo: Terrible beauty”

Changing ocean salinity a ‘clear fingerprint’ of global warming

Rapid intensification of water cycle expected in the next few decades

Global warming may fuel more intense rain in parts of the world that already wet, and more drought in dry regions. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Even as global warming deniers toot their horns at the discredited Heartland Institute‘s annual anti-science conference, a team of researchers say they’ve detected a pattern of changes in ocean salinity that marks a clear “fingerprint of climate change.”

Analyzing observed ocean salinity changes and the relationship between salinity, rainfall and evaporation in climate models, they determined the water cycle has strengthened by four per cent from 1950-2000. This is twice the response projected by current generation global climate models, according to lead author, Dr. Paul Durack, a post-doctoral fellow at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Continue reading “Changing ocean salinity a ‘clear fingerprint’ of global warming”

Scientists measure surging global freshwater runoff


A monsoon squall rolls off the sea near Darwin, Australia. PHOTO FROM THE CREATIVE COMMONS, VIA WIKIPEDIA.

Rivers delivered 18 percent more water to the oceans in a 13-year span from 1993 to 2006 as global warming intensifies the water cycle

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — More frequent and extreme storms linked to global warming have resulted in a surge of freshwater flows into the oceans, according to a group of researchers who studied satellite records of sea level rise, precipitation and evaporation to put together a unique 13-year record of freshwater run-off.

The trends were all the same, according to the study from the University of California at Irvine: Increased evaporation from the ocean led to increased precipitation on land and more flow back into the ocean. Based on the 13-year record, the scientists said flows increased by 18 percent between 1994 and 2006, at a rate of about 1.5 percent each year.

“That might not sound like much … but after a few decades, it’s huge,” said Jay Famiglietti, UC Irvine Earth system science professor and principal investigator on the study, which will be published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He noted that while freshwater is essential to humans and ecosystems, the rain is falling in all the wrong places, for all the wrong reasons. Continue reading “Scientists measure surging global freshwater runoff”